Ramblings: Hype Backlash Returns!

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Around last year, I discussed something I referred to (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) as “The Drizzt Effect.”  Long story short, an out of the blue concept becomes popular… too popular.  Suddenly, everyone wants to play as this character in other peoples’ games.  However, I’m not going to be talking about D&D that much here.  This time, it’s more so about the gaming community (while reflecting on and poking fun at my take on things.)

Overall, last year had a mix of satisfying releases and disappointing ones, as does any year.  I personally enjoyed Witcher III as a well done follow up to its predecessors (as well as an adaptation of the novels.)  While the hype train almost deterred me a little, I decided to challenge it on its own merits.  Overall, a satisfying game, even if Geralt is kind of Batman.  Now, can I say that for all the following games I had adverse reactions too?  Heavens no!

As I’ve said in another post, fandom tends to ruin things for me.  I’m a bitter old soul who becomes unnerved by too many screaming, celebratory voices.  Beforehand, it was Five Nights at Freddy’s.  The series itself is okay in my opinion, not particularly engaging or fun, I did like the first game at the time it came out though.  At first the lore caught my attention, at the very least as a well written creepypasta.  Then the relentless waves of how amazing it was surged everywhere.  I couldn’t escape absurd and esoteric theories, strange fan works among other things.  In a sense, I’m an angry hipster who hates when things get popular.

Perhaps none highlight this more than Undertale.  When I first heard about it back early Fall, I found it to be a charming homage to Earthbound and various other classic RPGs (particularly from the earlier 1990s.)  I had my fun, but the game didn’t really stick with me too much (even after going through a non-violent run.)  So, I packed my bags and decided to check something else out.  No harm done.  Then the floodgates open.  From the Hellscape that is Tumblr, dank memes and jabbering shoggoths emerged from the woodwork to shout at the world the glory that is that game.  I repeated my cycle of quickly becoming a jaded old man.  Returning, I had come to see a game that’s not as “hard” and “deep” as I initially considered (or at least, as others had said.)  I found the game more shallow and lacking the humor and depth I originally thought it had.  I also booted the game to do a “genocide run” out of spite.  And so, I enjoyed the tears of feels-filled fans, as being a very petty and vindictive gamer can be fun all its own.  Now I’m at the point where I roll my eyes and move past.  But, that is the cycle of hype backlash for me.  While I don’t care about what I consider a charming yet mediocre homage anymore, I’m sure something will earn my very petty ire.  This all depends, what are waves of rabid fans going to clamor about next?

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The Doc Speaks: Do I want to believe?

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Lemme start by saying that I am not a superstitious person, but it’s hard to deny some things in this world (let alone universe) defy our comprehension and will probably continue to do so for eons to come.  What could this be?  Alien beings, parallel universes, otherworlds seen in myth and legend?  Beyond the fantastical, we have theories of sinister organizations working underneath our thumbs, pseudo-government tyrannies run by companies, among other things. Sounds like science fiction and are probably inventions of creative minds, but what amount of truth can be found in those statements?  Sure, this is quickly starting to sound like the beginning of a poorly written creepypasta, but it does make one wonder.  Whether intended for plain old entertainment or an attempt to broaden our horizons, various bits of media have wondered what lurks within our own world, as well as what lurks beyond ours.  And beyond the media, such notions are ingrained into countless cultures around the world.  Even if it’s popular mythology, these stories continue to live and breath much like we do.  Let’s have a look at some examples I personally enjoy.

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The Doc Speaks: Let’s Explore the Multiverse!

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Modron On Parade!

I won’t deny it, I really enjoy the ideas of parallel realities, distant dimensions, entire planes of existence, and so on and so forth.  It’s one of the things that initially got me into comic books, as well as games such as Dungeons & Dragons (because Planescape is awesome.)  Truly, all forms of reality are at your finger tips with your imagination as the only possible restraint.  So with that, here’s some reasons why I would encourage the creation of a multiverse, whether for roleplaying games or for writing something else entirely.

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The Doc Speaks: Why do we want heroes?

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Moments like this is what makes heroes for me.

This all stemmed from a thought in my head, which is by no coincidence the title of the post.  This was after weeks and weeks of dealing with miserable work, feeling like I haven’t been getting anywhere, contemplating quitting my job, and just dealing with depression in general.  The world kinda sucks and you wanna know what?  We could all use a hero to help us out, ya know?  Now, I’m not just talking about the kid who collects extra lunch food for the homeless guy that hangs across the street, the clever tech hacker that thwarts cyber attackers and scammers, or the friendly neighbor who helps get your cat out of a tree.  Sure, these people are heroes in their own right.  I’m referring to incredible beings with equally incredible power who devote themselves to virtues of righteousness and justice.  Why do we want them?  In addition, why do we escape to fantastic worlds where people with incredible powers and over-the-top costumes fight the powers of darkness?

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The Doc Speaks: Fantastic Flops

Originally, I was going to do a review of Fantastic Four.  However, I didn’t want to be like countless carrion eaters picking off the remains of absolute badness.  We know the film is terrible.  There are still tons of folks out there who don’t want to admit it yet.  I don’t blame them, I too wanted this to be a good movie.  However, that wasn’t the only disappointing summer film.  I know there’s many who were sad that Pixels didn’t live up to the immense hype, resulting in some undeserved vitriol and relentless hatred.  And of course, there’s that Paul Blart sequel…  but, I doubt anyone thought that would be good.  All in all, while the summer has brought some smash hits like Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant Man, Avengers 2, Spy and some others; there’s always the flop.  Let’s dive deeper at the sad side of blockbuster cinema.

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Ramblings/Review: Fifth Edition Character Sheet mini-review

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Reviewing apps… this is a first for me.  It’s not that I have anything against apps, it’s just not something I’ve really done before. Plus, I’m not sure there’s really enough to do a full fledged review.  That said, I’m always up for new things.  This time, I’m going to do a brief look at the Fifth Edition Character Sheet app.  This app, available on multi-platforms creates a virtual character sheet for D&D 5th Edition.  While others have been hit with a C&D for doing the same, this one is surprisingly up and running.

One of the benfits of this app is that it has quite the ease of functionality.  The sheet is separated into 5 pages dedicated to different aspects of your character; basic number crunch, skills, attacks/other bonuses, spells, assorted extras/flavor text/class & race benefits.  All you really need to do is add names of spells or maneuvers if you have a class that utilizes them.  Otherwise, the app more or less places the information in their respective areas (i.e. a Life Domain cleric will have specific abilities in class section and Bless & Cure Wounds in the spells automatically logged.)  And while not exactly aesthetically pleasing, as many apps go, it has a simple yet effective presentation.  In addition, it does a decent job of tracking, especially in terms of healing/damage/hit points in general.

Being a pretty cheap app floating around in Play-Space, there are bound to be a few hiccups.  Certain parts of sheet were immediately responsive upon touch, while others required longer pressing in order to activate or edit them.  Also, you couldn’t add in descriptions for spells or other in-depth elements of your character.  As someone who has dealt with players forgetting how their spells work (as well as doing this myself, sometimes), this is a slight problem.

Overall, pretty good and well worth the additional 3 dollar transaction.  As I’ve said, there are/were better options available in terms of quick character creation, but this one isn’t bad for what you get.  It’s quick, it’s easy, it will get you back in the game.  This app is pretty good, but there are likely ones that are a bit better around the internet or just app store in general.  Prior to being C&D’d by Wizards of the Coast, Pathguy’s Javascript generator was my personal favorite, even though you can still access the pre-EEPG version via Internet archive.  However, if you’d prefer to keep your character up to date (with updates for every release), give this app a shot.

Ramblings: All you need is love

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While I typically don’t make big statements outside of pop culture ramblings, I figure this warrants a special post.  Simply put, I’m proud to see this advancement for LGBT community, civil rights, and beyond.  So, I wanted to cross-post something I put on my Tumblog earlier in the night.

It’s amazing the world we live in.  Despite living in a world filled with so much tragedy, terror, and frustration, we also have so much good in the world as well.  Today/yesterday (depending on where you live) was truly a milestone in history for the United States and other countries following suite.  While we weren’t the first, we were far from the last.  While there is still much injustice in the world, seeing marriage equality is a step in the right direction.  I’m often very critical about the U.S., but it has always been a weird experiment that is always trying to better itself.  It’s flawed, like us.  It’s filled with so many opinions butting heads that cause change to move slowly.  However, when things come together to aid others, there’s tons of potential for great things.  To me, the national recognition of same-sex marriage is an example of great things.  I’m excited to see what the future holds for the rights and liberties of others.  I’m not here to make a rally or become some spokesperson, but merely say that I’m glad we’re getting closer towards goals of equality.  In fact, we’ll see how this affects and helps other movements for equality in the future.  More or less, those are my thoughts, as jumbled and incoherent as they might seem.
EDIT: Rewrote this a bit, since this was originally written by a horribly tired and drunken mind… hence why it was a bit of a well intended mess.  To be fair, the post is STILL jumbled.  None the less, I’m proud this event in history happened to begin with.

Image Source: Mladen Antonov

Ramblings: E3 Quick Thoughts Part 2

Yesterday, I rambled a little about the companies that presented yesterday and the day before.  In a sense, E3 is almost like a holiday to me at this point.  While I’ve been falling out of loop with the gaming world, tons of great titles and genuinely fascinating events have been pulling me back into it.  That said, two platforms for gaming have been constants for me, even after I faded in and out of the fandom and community.  Today, it’s all about PC gaming and Nintendo!  Brace yourselves, this one’s quite a bit longer than the last one!!!  More after the jump.

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Ramblings: E3 Quick Thoughts Part 1

As everything gets back to “normal”, I’m beyond psyched for everything E3 has presented so far and what has yet to be seen.  So far, this seems to be a pretty successful expo so far.  It has been a mix of safe presentations and some pleasing surprises.  In terms of conferences, I’ve viewed Bethesda, Ubisoft and Sony.  In no particular order, here’s pretty much some blurbs.  More after the jump.

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Ramblings: Raging Boll Part 3!

That glorious moment when the world saw Uwe Boll’s massive frown.

Uwe Boll has snapped and I do believe this is beginning of a great unraveling.  Now, those out of the loop might find my sadistic enjoyment (or as they say in Deutschland, Schadenfreude) towards Mr. Boll’s descent into madness a bit disturbing.  In that case, let me enlighten you with some tidbits on our fine film making friend.

This is the same guy who exploited a law in Germany designed to bolster artists and compete with international cinema.  All in all, not a bad thing.  The German underground of horror helped to evolve as a result of this bill.  However, he made massive bank for crapping out effortless films that slapped on names of then popular video game franchises before shipping them around for gullible fools to dig up.  Amidst people calling him out for bad movies, he calls himself the only fucking genius here, while mocking both Michael Bay and disabled people in the same sentence.  Jump forward some more years and he’s fed up with critics calling his work rubbish.  His response was a massive publicity stunt where he showed off his amateur/probably-not-quite-“pro” boxing skills against all those meany bully journalists and reviewers out there.  Or rather, beat the snot out of these people in a boxing ring so he can feel better about his low self-esteem.  At the very least, we got a self-aware documentary called “Raging Boll” out of it… and yes, we saw what they did there.  Several bits of rubbish later, he returned utilizing social media and crowdfunding.  After he realized that no one wanted to fund his work, he went off on tirades about how Captain America doesn’t exist, Hollywood can’t art, and the BULLSHIT BUSINESS is run by BULLSHIT IDIOTS.  That said, he didn’t need the kickstarter anyway, since he has enough money to play golf until he’s dead.

With that and much much more, we have a real class act here, folks!  Now, since Boll has more talent making an ass of himself rather than making a good movie, I’m sure his descent into self-destruction will only go deeper and deeper… with the attention either bolstering him for a little bit or probably tearing him down further.  Seeing as he’s become a villain of both the video gaming world and the cinema world, I have my doubts anyone will bail him out as he keeps bringing himself into more trouble.  That or he’ll make a new career based off childish rage and petty passive aggressive vlogs about his misunderstood he is and how much of an artist he truly is…  My lord, he has regressed to that emo kid in your High School art class (the one who was waiting for a game like HATRED to come out, of course)!  With that revelation, I’ll catch you cool ghouls next time.